tv PBS News Hour PBS March 31, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
acneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. president obama announced plans to lift a ban on offshore drilling for oil and gas. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the "newshour" tonight: the proposal opens large sections of the gulf of mexico and the atlantic and alaskan coasts for new exploration. >> lehrer: we'll get the opposing views of interior secretary ken salazar and maryland senator ben cardin. >> brown: then, as international donors pledge more than $5 billion to help rebuild haiti. judy woodruff talks to susan
rice, u.s. ambassador to the united nations. >> lehrer: next, number two in our peru series. ray suarez reports on efforts to tackle one of the world's biggest health problems. >> peru had a very high death rate for women in childbirth, especially here in the rural areas, but new strategies for the end of pregnancy are pushing those rates dramatically lower. >> brown: and, with the census deadline looming, we'll talk to director robert groves about the challenges of the once-a-decade count. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> what the world needs now is energy. the energy to get the economy humming again. the energy to tackle challenges like climate change. what if that energy came from an energy company? everyday, chevron invests in people, in ideas-- seeking, teaching, building. fueling growth around the world to move us all ahead. this is the power of human
and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> lehrer: there could be more drilling for oil along major expanses of the u.s. coastline. president obama today partially ended a moratorium that's lasted more than 20 years. "newshour" correspondent kwame holman begins our coverage. >> reporter: large offshore drilling platforms-- sometimes floating, sometimes anchored to the ocean floor-- soon may be fixtures in the atlantic, starting 50 miles off the coast of virginia. the first lease sales there could come as early as next
year. president obama cleared the way today, with his announcement at andrews air base outside washington. >> this is not a decision that i've made lightly. the bottom line is this: given our energy needs, in order to sustain economic growth, produce jobs, and keep our businesses competitive, we're going to need to harness traditional sources of fuel even as we ramp up production of new sources of renewable, homegrown energy. >> reporter: the areas opened to exploration include 167 million acres of ocean from delaware to central florida, plus nearly 130 million acres in the arctic ocean, off northern alaska. and the interior department also wants to allow additional drilling in the eastern gulf of mexico. >> reporter: there also are vast expanses that remain off-limits, even under the president's plan. the moratorium along the entire u.s. pacific coast will continue, and along the atlantic coast, from new jersey
northward. another place that won't be open to exploration is alaska's bristol bay-- home to the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery. drilling was a contentious issue during the last presidential campaign, when republican vice presidential nominee and alaska governor sarah palin led the oft repeated chant of "drill, baby drill!" then-candidate obama said offshore drilling was not the answer to the nation's escalating gas prices. >> when i am president, i intend to keep in place the moratorium here in florida and around the country that prevents oil companies from drilling off florida's coast. >> reporter: but mr. obama's stance softened as the campaign progressed, and at his state of the union address this year, he said "tough decisions" were looming. in his speech today, he addressed those on both sides of the issue.
>> ultimately, we need to move beyond the tired debates between right and left, between business leaders and environmentalists, between those who would claim drilling is a cure all and those who would claim it has no place. because this issue is just too important to allow our progress to languish while we fight the same old battles over and over again. >> reporter: in response, a spokesman from the environmental group greenpeace called it a disappointment. >> i think it's a real let down, and i think it's a betrayal of people that voted against drill baby drill and for president obama's vision of a clean energy future. 00 but florida governor charlie crist welcomed the drilling announcement. >> i think that america ohm >> reporter: in any event, it's likely that actual drilling in much of the newly opened spaces will not begin for years. >> brown: and we hear first from the man who put together the plan for the president: interior
secretary ken salazer. welcome to you. >> thank you, jeff. the president had said some tough decisions had to be made. how much of a shift in thinking does this represent? >> it's a new direction for our country. the president knows that this is not the panacea for our energy independence, but it is a part of our energy portfolio for the future and the new direction essential he takes us to a balanced approach where we are moving forward with conservation in areas like bristol bay in alaska and moving forward with developments in select areas. so it's a balanced approach meeting the energy needs of the country and providing energy security for the nation. >> one that, certainly, many people see as a shift in approach for this president. we heard greenpeace, certainly that quote suggests it. the man says, "a betrayal of the people who voted for the president's vision of a clean energy future." >> well, with all due respect, i think they're wrong. the fact of the matter is that what the president has said all
along is we need to have a comprehensive energy plan for the nation, and within that comprehensive energy plan, we need to make sure that we are getting to energy independence, that we're protecting our planet from the dangers of pollution, and that we're creating millions of jobs here in america. so we're going to do that with renewal energy, with solar, with wind with geothermal. there's also a place there for oil and gas production. we can't turn off the oil and gas at this time. it's a balanced and very thoughtful approach the president announced today. >> when you think about the place offshore drilling has, how do you decide on the particular places that will now be allowed? what is the scientific criteria that allows it in one place but not in another place? >> jeff, there are a number of factors, but specifically, when you look at the gulf coast of mexico, it's a place where we have most of the known resource for oil and gas, about a third of the domestically produced oil and gas comes from the gulf of mexico. so it's not that difficult to say that's a place where we ought to go ahead and support
production, and that's what we have done in this plan. when you look at the pacific, there are important wildlife refugees along the coast. all the states are opposed to drilling so that's why we're in the drilling in the pacific. it's a place we're conserving. lask ploosk is more complicated, and we're going to take a thoughtful approach to develop the science before we move forward. along the atlantic, the north atlantic is also a very special place with great marine fisherys and other values there, so that's going to be off limits as well. along the mid-atlantic and south atlantic you have states like virginia that are very supportive of offshore drilling, so we're going to examine that as a possibility. so this is a balanced plan. it's a plan that takes into account the differences that exist in each one of the areas off the coasts of america. it's 1.75 billion acres that we're dealing with here. and i would say that this is a good balance between conservation and development that gives us energy security that we need.
>> brown: one of the points of contention, of course, has been how much oil there actually is in some of these places. you mentioned the gulf of mexico. that's one place where it may be well known, other areas less well known. in some of the studies the estimates i have seen are quite out of date, i gather. how much do do you feel is there and how much would it represent for the nation's energy future, how much a difference would it make? >> jeff, the areas that we are opening up we believe can provide about 10% of the energy needs of america, but the reality of it is, it's not the panacea, and it's not going to get us energy independence. we cannot drill our way to energy independence, and the fact of the matter is, along the atlantic, we still have to going toer much information before we move forward with any kind of drilling program, even on the virginia lease sale, there is an environmental impact statement that's going to have to be prepared to determine whether or not lease category move forward there. so people ought to know that we're moving forward with an approach that is going to be
based on science and is going to protect coastlines and environmental valuees of this country. that is foremost in our minds as we move forward. >> brown: 10%, you think it's as high as that, that could come from this? >> the expansions can provide about 10% more for the domestic oil energy00 production part of our consumption of what we have in the past. it's a significant addition, but still, jeff, it's important to remember, two-thirds of our energy is imported from foreign countries today, so this is not going to turn off the spigot from opec, but it will help us move forward in that direction. another quick clarification from your announcement. the moratorium that was spoken about is not a moratorium that exists because that was lifted by the last congress, lifted by the president. there's only one place way moratorium, and that's in the eastern gulf of mexico. all the rest of the ocean is totally wide open. and so what we did is we basically crafted a plan that said it's appropriate to drill in some places and to explore in some places. there are other places that are
too special and we need to protect them. it's about conservation as well as development. >> brown: the president has framed this as part of a larger energy strategy. that's going to be tough to get the votes for a larger energy expwil it looks as though you might need republican help for something like that. is there a political calculation in today's announcement to, perhaps, help you woo some of that kind of support? >> the answer to that is no. we are basically just carrying out our responsibilities under the authority that is the executive branch has with respect to the outer continental shelf and those are the authorities that the president and the department of interior exercise. there are, separate from this, ourg efforts to develop a comprehensive energy bill for the nation and that is something where we have a bipartisan group of senators that include senator kerry and senator graham and senator lieberman, helping us move forward to see how we can move forward to energy independence, create jobs here in america, and also how we create a better environment, cleaner air for our planet.
so those efforts are under way. but they are separate from what we are doing today here. >> brown: and what's the timeline here? we mentioned some things could happen fairly quickly, but in your best-case scenario, is this a matter of years, a few years, a lot of years? what happens next. >> jeff, in the gulf of mexico we're moving forward, so you'll see development there as we have seen for the last 20 years. much of our energy comes from the gulf. in the atlantic, we will know a lot more within a couple of years, as well as in the arctic and the pacific is off-limits. this is an unfolding issue because what we need to do is make sure decisions that are made are made based on science and based on the best available information that we have. and right now, we don't have it. along the atlantic, all the information is 30 years old. so it's been a big debate without really knowing what the facts are, and at least the american people are due the statement, the reality of the facts with respect to what's on the ground. >> brown: all right, interior secretary, ken salazer, thank you very much. >> thank you, jeff. today's announcement did somewhat twist the usual
politics on its head, as a number of republicans came out with at least guarded support. senate minority leader mitch mcconnell, for example, called the move: "a step in the right direction, but a small one that leaves enormous amounts of american energy off limits. and the proof of the administration's announcement will be in the implementation." the strongest opposition, as we've heard, came from some of the president's usual allies in the environmental community and a number of democrats in congress. one, senator benjamin cardin of maryland, joins me now. senator, welcome. >> it's good to be with you. >> brown: what is your chief objection to this? >> i think secretary salazer is right. there are places that are too special to risk offshore drilling. i'm disappointed that he didn't include the mid-atlantic, didn't include the chesapeake bay, didn't include the aspek and the value resource we have there. i was disappointed that risk now
is greater. >> brown: he did talk about the studies that are to come, that there are years of looking at this and kind of weighing. do you think that is enough that in the end might prevent drilling or does it look to you that this will go forward? >> we need to very much look at the impact a spill could have on the economy of the mid-atlantic. we're talking about the fisher industry. we're talking about tourism. we're talking about property owners. it could have a major impact on the economy of the mid-atlantic, and i hope that the type of environmental review that the administration is talking about will point that out. and as secretary salazer just pointed ow, we don't even know what the reserves are there. we're talking about a minuscule amount of oil, and the risks here are great. >> brown: of course, you talk about a major impact on the economy. he and others talk about an impact in terms of creating jobs. >> i want to create jobs through the energy sector, too. i want to have clean energy.
i want to see us do renewables. i want to see us invest in nuclear energy. and we have plenty of land that is currently available for oil. so i just think the risks here are just too great. >> brown: you talk about supporting the president's call for a kind of comprehensive energy plan. so does it become a question of what we mean by "comprehensive?" would you like to take offshore drilling off the table altogether? >> we do offshore drilling today. i don't think the new areas that we're talking about will produce enough additional oil, either in the short or medium term to really deal with our energy needs. we could do a much better job on energy conservation. renewables are very, very important. nuclear is an area that's not only important in the midterm but long term. i think there are many other options available, and, quite frankly, expanding offshore oil sites when you already have tens of millions of acres currently available to the oil industry for exploration that they're not using to me is something that
really will not help a comprehensive energy policy for this country. >> brown: another argument that the president was putting forward today was on national security grounds. he made this announcement at andrews air force base. he talked about oil security as a national security issue. usual setting that some noted for something like this. what's your response to that as a reason to look hard at this and perhaps go ahead in some areas? >> well, i think, the president's absolutely right about energy being a national security issue. we need to become energy independent. we know how to get there. we're not going to get there by drilling. we're not going to get there by oil. we have to have alternate fuels, and we have to use less energy in this country. and by the way, that will not only help our national security. it will create jobs in america. other countries are doing this much more aggressively with wind and solar and nuclear. we need to create jobs here in the america. and by the way, we also have responsibility on the
environment, to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and more oil won't help us accomplish that goal either. >> brown: i think you heard me ask the secretary about a possible political calculation, weighing this into the larger energy legislation or bill that may be coming. do you see a calculation here by the president in terms of trying to woo some republican support for that larger picture? >> i don't think opening up offshore drilling is going to help get a comprehensive energy bill through the united states senate or the congress. so i don't think it will be helpful, bottom line, in crafting a comprehensive bill that can enjoy broad support. >> brown: and what do you see going forward? do you expect strong opposition or legal challenges from states in the court? what do you see? >> well, we certainly want to see the president's specific proposals. the administration has promised there would be environmental sensitivity. we want to see what he's talking about by that. so, quite frankly, we have major concerns about opening up offshore drilling that could affect my state, the state of maryland, and our surrounding
areas. we're told that we're going to be protected. we're going to do everything we can to make sure the people of our state, the people of our region, that their precious natural resources are protected. >> brown: all right, senator benjamin cardin of maryland, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> lehrer: still to come on the "newshour": rebuilding haiti after the earthquake; cutting deaths in childbirth in peru and counting everyone in the u.s. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: flooding across the northeast and new england drove hundreds of people from their homes today. rivers surged out of their banks after the second major rainstorm in a month. a state of emergency was declared in rhode island, where flooding was said to be the worst in more than 200 years. sewage treatment plants and electrical substations were submerged along with other buildings, homes and roadways. state officials warned all one million people in the state to conserve water and power. >> right now, this is what we've
got, and as the water recedes and each of those community can then get in those facilities and make an evaluation of how quickly they can get back up and running. so a lot of unknowns right now. short term, it's not a pleas apt situation. >> sreenivasan: parts of interstate 95 in rhode island were under water, and officials said they might not be passable for days. national guard troops were called out in rhode island, massachusetts and connecticut. a british investigation has largely vindicated a team of researchers of claims they tampered with climate data. the probe involved e-mails leaked from the university of east anglia. they appeared to show efforts to sideline skeptics of global warming. a committee of the house of commons found nothing in the e- mails would challenge the notion that humans are causing the earth to warm. a chechen rebel leader claimed today his group carried out monday's subway bombings in moscow. doku umarov spoke in an online video. he said he personally ordered
the attacks that killed 39 people and he threatened more to come. in southern russia today, two more suicide bombings killed 12 people in dagestan province. that region borders chechnya. there was no immediate claim of responsibility. in afghanistan, parliament rejected president hamid karzai's bid to gain tighter control over a commission that monitors elections. that body stripped karzai of nearly a third of his votes in last year's election due to fraud. also today, a bicycle bomb killed eight afghans and injured 35 near lashkar gah, the capital of helmand province. the trial in the 2008 terror attacks in mumbai, india wrapped up today. there were three defendants-- a pakistan national said to be the lone surviving gunman, and two indians. they're accused in a three-day siege in mumbai that killed 166 people. the prosecutor charged again today that pakistani authorities played a role. >> this is a case of, a classic case of state sponsored terrorism, and some people from security apparatus of pakistan
are involved in this terror attack. >> sreenivasan: the judge is due to issue a verdict in may. the suspects could face the death penalty if they're convicted. in economic news, toyota reported u.s. sales surged 40% this month from a year ago. the company offered deep discounts and generous financing to win back customers after a wave of recalls. and wall street took a step backward today. stocks fell after a payroll company reported u.s. companies cut jobs this month. the dow jones industrial average lost more than 50 points to close at 10,856. the nasdaq fell more than 12 points to close just below 2,398. the transportation department has stepped up its campaign against distracted driving. the agency called today for a permanent ban on text messaging while driving for some of the largest vehicles on the road. it would apply to drivers of interstate buses and commercial trucks that weigh more than 10,000 pounds. an interim ban is already in effect. this new proposal would make it permanent. jaime escalante, the teacher who
transformed a tough east los angeles high school, died on tuesday. he'd battled cancer for several years. escalante challenged perceptions that poor kids just weren't teachable by motivating them to master advanced math. he became one of the most famous teachers in the country when he was played by edward james olmos in the movie "stand and deliver". jaime escalante was 79 years old. those are some of the day's main stories. i'll be back at the end of the program with a preview of what you'll find tonight on the newshour's web site. but for now, back to jim. >> lehrer: making pledges to haiti. judy woodruff has that story. >> woodruff: by any accounting, the needs of post-earthquake haiti are massive. today, the haitian government sought pledges of nearly $4 billion to get the rebuilding under way. the appeal came at a day-long conference at the united nations. u.n. secretary-general ban ki- moon and secretary of state hillary clinton urged representatives of more than 100 nations to help.
>> by the end of this day, i am confident we will truly have helped haiti along the road to a better future. >> woodruff: secretary clinton said the u.s. pledge will amount to $1.1 billion over the next two years. >> this is not only a conference on what financially we pledge to haiti, we also have to pledge our best efforts to do better ourselves, to offer our support in a smarter way, a more effective way that produces real results for the people of haiti. >> woodruff: the european union also stepped forward with a pledge of $1.6 billion. and haitian president rene preval asked donors to focus on education, to help his nine million people rebuild their lives. >> ( translated ): let us dream of a new haiti whose fate lies in a new project that relies on
a society without exclusion, which has overcome hunger, in which all have access to secure shelter, decent shelter, health care provided according to their needs, and quality education. >> woodruff: the preval government's request would be just the first part of a much larger package of more than $11 billion. the plan is to rebuild schools, hospitals, courthouses and entire neighborhoods that crumbled to the ground. but getting promises of aid is one thing-- getting the money is something else. that's partly because donors are demanding greater transparency in a country with a long history of official corruption. on tuesday, former president bill clinton was tapped to co- chair a special commission. its task is to make sure the earthquake aid gets where it's supposed to go. >> we're just trying to provide a forum in which all the
legitimate stakeholders can be heard and come together and then implement the haitian government's plan. >> woodruff: in the meantime, hundreds of thousands of haitians are still homeless and facing the threats of disease, violence and floods, plus the approach of hurricane season. i'm joined by the u.s. ambassador to the united nations susan rice. madam ambassador, thank you for talking with us. as we've been reporting, the u.n. is trying to raise $4 billion now, over $11 billion eventually. is this money that can realistically be raised? >> well, yes, judy. in fact, as we speak, there have been over $5 billion in pledges made by over 55 countries today, and the pledging is still going on. that kpeedz the $3.9 billion goal that the government of haiti and the united nations and other donors set for this initial pledging period.
of 18-24 months. this is the initial support that haiti needs to move beyond the emergency phase into real, lasting recovery and development. and the theme of the conference today, the pledging conference, which the u.s. cochaired, secretary clinton was here on behalf of the administration, is to build back haiti better. it's not sufficient simply to see haiti return to the status quo, which frankly was one of desperate poverty and underdevelopment. there is, in this trablg dee of the earthquake, an opportunity with strong leadership from the government of haiti and strong support from the united states, which has been by haiti's side from the very beginning, from the region and the rest of the international community and the united nations to help haiti restore and rebuild in a fashion that leaves its people better off. >> woodruff: so what would you say is the priority? we hear the needs are enormous-- housing, education, hospitals,
and on and on. what are the priorities? >> well, the immediate prioritiess in this period going forward, after we manage the still-ongoing effects of the emergency-- and we still have real needs with shelter and sanitation and the rainy season coming. but when we get into the phase of long-term recovery and development, the government of haiti has identified a number of priorities-- a.i.g., health, education, infrastructure, security, and governance. those areas are those that the donors today have committed to support in a sustained way over an extended period of time. it is going to take years, judy, for haiti to be able to get back on its feet and to begin again to make the sort of progress it was beginning to make before this tragedy struck. the irony is, for all of haiti's long of struggle and tribulation the period of a year or two preceding the earthquake were a
period of economic growth and optimism in haiti, and that was dashed in a matter of seconds. and now the challenge is to come back together, help haiti rebuild and strengthen its institutions of governance, to make sure that we're no longer focusing edge on port-au-prince but developing the provinces and secondary cities, which is an important element of the gf's program, and ensuring that the many friends and supporters of haiti, the nongovernmental organizations, donors, the private sector rcoordinating in a fashion unlike ever before. and one of the most important things to come out of this conference today is a commitment on the part of the n.g.o.s, and many others, to respond to the government of haiti's plan and to work together. >> woodruff: let me just ask you a couple of qek questions. on the donors, which you just mentioned, they are saying they want transparency. they want know their dollars going to be spent the way they should be spent. how do you give them-- what
assurance can you give them? >> absolutely. we, the united states, as a very major dorb having pledged today $1.15 billion as part of will be haiti's long-term relief and recovery, in addition to the substantial investment that the american people have made. over half of american households have donated in support of the people of haiti in the wake of the earthquake, and the united states did a huge amount in the emergency phase. we are all committed to ensuring that the money that is being provided gets to the people who need it. and in this instance, with this pledging conference, for the first time, and quite uniquely, there is a higher degree of transparency than ever before. pledges will be vetted to ensure for example, that they're not double counting, that governments aren't saying that they're giving new money when in fact it's money that they previously pledged or commited. the government of haiti and the united nations are going to have a tracking mechanism to ensure that the pledges made are actually delivered, and that what is promised is actually fulfilled.
so we are quite hopeful in this instance that commitments will be tracked, monitored, and honored. >> woodruff: on the other hand, we hear from haitians that they don't want outsiders telling them how to manage their government. how do you strike that balance of knowing that the money is spent as the donors want it, but on the other hand, giving haitianing the ability to determine their own fate? >> well, that's an excellent question, and a real focus of the effort today at the united nations was to ensure that all of the stakeholders, first and foremost, the people and the government of haiti, are driving this process. the resources that have been pledged today are in support of a plan developed by the government of haiti. and the government of haiti in this process consulted with civil society, the haitian diaspara, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, civil societys-- all of these groups were represented today and had their say and will continue to have a say in how this money is allocated.
it's the government of haiti that is ultimately responsible. we and other donors are working in support of that government. we're not there to supplant it. and some very thoughtful and i think very effective implementing mechanisms have been set up and an interim authority to manage these resources. the world bank has been given the lead in managing what is called a multidonor trust fund and pledges will go into that and have the rigor and transparency that a world bank mechanism ensures. and i think the american taxpayers can be comfort that the dollars that they have contributed both on an individual base, a private basis and the u.s. government, with strong support from congress will contribute. it will be money well spent and money that will meet its intended purpose. >> woodruff: very briefly, i ask you this because of what you just said, and that is that so much money and so much help has poured into haiti over many, many decades. it remains the poorest country
in this hemisphere. how do you tell people, how do you assure people that that's going to change? >> well, judy, for the first time there is a new approach to development in haiti. it's one in which the government has the lead rather than a myriad of individual private or nongovernmental organizations. it's a strategy that is not just concentrate on the capital but is actually designed to pld up the regions and the provinces and secondary city where's the need is enormous and where the potential is great. there will be a huge and lasting focus on agriculture, which is arguably the most important thing, along with energy and infrastructure, to enable haiti to achieve a degree of development and progress that it hasn't in the past. so in many different ways, from transparency to the sectoral approach to giving the government the lead, and building up a long-term capacity for the government to sustain that progress, things will be done differently this time. and we are hopeful that this time, progress will be lasting. >> woodruff: u.s. ambassador to
the united nations, susan rice. thank you very much for talking with us. >> thank you, judy. >> brown: next, our second "global health unit" report from peru. tonight, ray suarez looks at new efforts to save lives of mothers and babies in the country's most remote areas. >> reporter: high in the andean mountains of peru, far from the modern conveniences of a city, generations of indigenous women have given birth at home-- their only help from family or a village midwife. that long-standing tradition for home birth was not a problem in most cases. but in that small percentage of women in which there was a complication in childbirth, a walk to the nearest health facility could be days away on foot, and even hours away drive. and that meant the story usually had a tragic ending. like the story of lorenzo
quispe, whose wife antonio died at home, three years ago, after complications arose giving birth to their sixth child. lorenzo described that day when his wife began hemorrhaging after delivery-- when he had to leave her at home with the children to go find a doctor, and when he returned four hours later. >> ( translated ): i entered the house in a panic and screamed "wake up, wake up." i was pleading, i touched her and she was still warm, but the doctor said, she is dead. >> reporter: three-year-old aldofa, the baby born that day, survived the ordeal. lorenzo's young children now help care for him. but caring for children, land and livestock has taken a toll on quispe. these days, he is barely able to keep food on the table. >> ( translated ): i am in a very bad situation. sometimes, i don't have milk for the baby, and right now there is nothing. my children are sick also, and
that saddens me, and that i can't afford to get my children treated for minor medical issues. >> reporter: doctors say lorenzo's wife antonio died of cardiac arrest, after hours of bleeding. and they say, antonio's death could have been prevented by minimal emergency care. of all the health outcomes that the united nations has pledged to improve, reducing maternal death in childbirth has been the least successful initiative so far. so it's become a top priority. worldwide, half a million woman die in childbirth each year. estimates are that one in ten of those deaths are preventable. the vast majority happen in remote areas. 99% percent of them in developing countries. in peru, a new national strategy to turn those numbers around is taking shape. and the program is being seen as a model for latin america and the developing world. here, in the remote region of ayacucho, 12,000 feet above sea
level, sits the village of vilcashuaman. many hours from the nearest airstrip, it's a town so remote that even the impressive inca ruins draw few tourists. a "casa materna" or birthing home was built for women late in pregnancy to live in as their due date nears. and it's a centerpiece in the government's new strategy. dr. oscar ugarte ubilluz is peru's health minister. >> ( translated ): we detected that one of the critical problems is the amount of time and distance it takes to get attention when complications arise in childbirth. so we've created 450 "waiting homes" throughout the country. >> reporter: at the casa materna in vilcashuaman, pregnant women bring their children. they make their own meals with ingredients from a hospital garden, and live as if at home.
29-year-old eulalia centro is here with her one-year-old daughter. eulalia had her first child at home without complications, before the birthing home existed. but she lives in an area with no roads. it takes a full day on horse just to get to vilcashuman. so eulalia chose to have her second, then her third child at the birthing home. >> ( translated ): pregnant women are always dying at home so that is why we decided to come here. the birthing home is occupied nearly every day of the year. pregnancies in the region are tracked with a simple felt map. the circles represent the each pregnant women's home and the hours it takes to reach them. >> tres hours, quatro hours. >> reporter: red felt represents pregnant teenagers, at greater risk for death in childbirth
because their bodies haven't fully matured. 24-hour staff are trained to deal with obstetric emergencies, like breech babies, placenta blockages, and hemorrhaging. josefina montes perez is an ob- gyn at the casa. >> ( translated ): when they gave birth in their communities, it was very common to see a women die, and then that whole family would disintegrate. in these remote villages, the mother is the figure head. once a mother dies, the family disintegrates, falls into poverty, the children are traumatized. >> reporter: two-way radios are used to notify the hospital in ayacucho, four hours away, when complications arise. >> ( translated ): the protocol to deal with emergencies, we didn't have that before, now we do, the communities know how to react. >> reporter: dr. jorge rodriguez rivas is the medical director for the hospital. >> ( translated ): we immediately send an ambulance
out with blood and so the blood arrives there and as they are bringing the women back they are already doing a transfusion on the road. >> reporter: one of the early challenges was convincing indigenous peruvian women, who have many rituals around childbirth, to come to a hospital at all. mothers like 25-year-old sandra ayasca quilca are now able to give birth at ayacucho's hospital and still follow their traditional way of delivering babies in the sitting position, called vertical birthing. fathers, like solomon parco quichca, sit behind the mother and help in the labor process. customary herbs and teas help with labor, and its aftermath. following traditions, laboring women are allowed to wear head bands, and their distinctive skirts for modesty's sake. obstetricians are trained to delivery babies in this position.
all of this has brought in women otherwise suspicious of antiseptic hospitals. soloman and his wife live four days away in a remote area. they were both were born at home, but they have decided to have their own children here. the couple made the journey before labor began. a healthy boy-- this is the couple's third child delivered this way. >> ( translated ): the vertical birth means there is less suffering. it's tradition that we still use, also we give herbs and tea- - the matte-- this helps with pain and to helps to give strength in delivery. >> reporter: all of the efforts in the ayacucho region have paid off. ayacucho's maternal mortality rate has dropped 50% from 1999 to 2005. originally launched by the international aid organization, care, the project has become a joint effort involving local, and national government officials and non government
organizations. elena esquiche leon from care says it's an issue of human rights. >> we believe that maternal mortality is liked to human rights and we are working here in peru to mobilize the entire civil society to avoid unnecessary deaths of pregnant women. women in peru play an important role in our domestic economy, an important role in the health of children, in reducing malnutrition, so losing a mother is a huge social drama. >> reporter: peru's model has caught the attention of international global health experts and administration officials in the united states who plan to make maternal health issues a top priority. >> brown: ray's final report will look at peru as a leader in aids research. >> lehrer: finally tonight, counting heads in america. the official u.s. census forms are due in by tomorrow and the
results matter. they determine distribution of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding as well as congressional redistricting, among other important things. the census bureau has launched a big effort to get everyone to participate. the person in charge is the director of the census bureau, robert groves. >> where are you now? how far along? we have various operations. we're in the middle of our biggest and that is 120 million households, individual forms. so the vast majority of households have referred those forms at home, and we asked people to fill them out and mail them back as soon as they can. april 1, as you noted, is a special date for us.
it's a date we want people to think of what their household composition is. for those who have pretty stable households you can turn in the form early and know who is going to live there april 1. if you're expecting a new baby or if someone is close to death, we ask you to wait until april 1 to make sure the right people are counted in the right place. we're actually going to wait for about two more weeks after that. you still have a chance. if you haven't turned yours in, you still have a chance to mail them in for a couple more weeks. >> lehrer: what's the percentage? >> we're at 52% of the occupied households. about 62 million households have returned their forms. it's great. >> lehrer: with two weeks still to go, that's when you're going to count anything that happens in the next two weeks as having met the deadline. >> that's right. >> lehrer: how much more do you expect to go? >> we're hoping that we're sort of-- that we have 25 or 30% more
that might be coming down the pipeline. we have a set of operations over the next few days that are trying to improve that reet. starting as early as tomorrow, there will be a set of households that will get a replacement form in case they just put it aside, kind of lost it. we've gotten some calls from people. they've lost their forms. those areas will get a replacement form, sort of a second chance for them. and we'll cut that off about april 22 when we'll cut off the mail returns. and then we begin a whole other process. since we have to count everyone, we will hire people to go out to the houses that didn't return the form and interview people in person. >> lehrer: and how many people are involved in that operation? >> that's a massive operation. we will hire-- there are about 700,000 jobs that will be valved in crew leaders and individual
enumerators who will be out on the streets of the united states doing that work. >> lehrer: and they literally knock on people's doors, right? >> that's right. they have a list of all the houses, the addresss that did not mail back the form, and they'll knock on those doors. they won't be knocking on the doors of the folks who turned it back in. there's a money story to be cold connected to this thing. at an individual level, if you choose to fill out your form and mail it back, that costs us taxpayers about 42 cents. if not, since by law we have to count everyone, we'll send someone out. that costs about $60 per household. >> lehrer: for somebody to go to the door? >> absolutely. we have to train them. they have to travel. they have to repeatedly call. there's a great incentive for all of us to fill it out and mail it back. >> lehrer: so why haven't they all done in t? why won't everybody do it? >> we are a busy lot here in the united states.
all of us think that we're working harder and that we were busier than we used to be-- whether it's true or not, it doesn't matter. we certainly believe that. so part of it is, you know, all of us tend to get a form and sort of put it aside and say, "i'll get it it over the weekend something like that. a lot of it is that kind of put ago procrastination, putting things off. we do know there are other causes of this as well, and we've worked on some of those with this 2010 design. one of them is language barriers. we have a new set of immigrant groups. they bring with them a lot of different language from their native cultures. we have a lot of language assistance guides that are trying to attack that problem. this is a census done in 59 different languages, believe it or not. the l.a. school system has kids that speak over 120 different languages. we have to be language sensitive.
>> lehrer: is immigration neutral? in other words, is an illegal immigrant behind one of these doors that somebody knocks on, you will turn them in? >> not at all. in fact, there's a wonderful story from history about this. the first-- yb, the census is specified in the sturkz way up there at the beginning, article one, section two. we're going to count ourselves every 10 years in a manner that congress shall direct. the very first census, march 1, 1797, we're going to count everyone. we're gog count them whether they're citizens or not, and then the 14th amendment just nailed that down. we don't even ask whether you're a citizen on this questionnaire. we don't know whether you're a citizen. we don't care. following the mandates of the founding fathers, every 10 years we've counted everyone who lives here. >> lehrer: just who lives here. that's what you want to know. >> absolutely. if you live here, you're eligible and should participate in the 2010 census. >> lehrer: but as a practical
matter, through the years, every 10 years, you don't really get everybody, do you? >> well, let me tell you what we do. we have developed over the summer of 2009 a list of every address in the country. we've gotten all the commercial lists. we've worked with local leaders, local officials to get their lists-- utility lists and everything. and then in the summer of 2009, we had 150,000 people who walked every street in this country, street by street, writing down every housing unit. we mailed to those housing units or we will visit those housing units. we will get a determination of who lives in every one of those housing units. if you mail it back-- if you fill it out and mail it back, that's the cheapest way we'll do it. if not, we'll go out and get the information on site. >> lehrer: so you think you'll get, what, in the 90%? >> well under the year 200, is an estimate-- one estimate is that we missed maybe 1.4% of the
population. but even knowing that well is a hard thing. how do you know? you need something even better. >> lehrer: finally, i underline what i said at the very beginning, how important these numbers are. >> well, these numbers-- i think of these numbers as the information infrastructure of the country just like roads and bridges are the infrastructure for transportation. they affect almost every day of every person's life. not visibly. they're not in our face every day. but we can't live our life without this. so the constitutional base is one. there will be shifts in number of representatives-- house of representatives come december. >> lehrer: redistricting based on census figures. >> by december 31, it's a real hard deadline to us. we have to submit to the president and the country counts by states, and there will be movement of representative counts there. and then the states take over and they start redistricting. so participating in the census
is an important thing for you because your fair share of that political representation is connected to your participation. and then, since over the decades there have been hundreds of programs passed by congresss that return taxpayer money to local areas based on senus count. in the laws of these programs it says we're going to distribute the money based on population. the population counts are going to come from the census. that's now over $400 billion a year of--. >> lehrer: $400 billion a year. >> $400 billion a year--. >> lehrer: based on the census? >> that's right. so to get your fair share of that money, your neighborhood, your family's, your city's fair share of that you've got to participate in the census. it's the kind of thing that your decision to fill out this little form now has 10 years of impact on you. we do this only once every 10 years. so this form is the closest to
the 1790 census form newshour lifetimes. in 1790, the congress said we're going to collect name, age, sex, and race. we ask a couple of more questions, and that's it. so we have kept this down to the bare minimum. we have a little slogan that says 10 questions, 10 minutes. some of my friends are have called me and said you're lying. my wife and i filled it out. it took us only three minutes. so we have overestimated, perhaps, the length of time it takes to fill these out. >> lehrer: in a word, if anybody is concerned about it from your perspective, and you could state on behalf of the u.s. government you don't think people's privacy is invade by these forms. >> let me tell buthis. since i've had this job, since july i have become more admirg of the founding fathers. because in setting up a census that counted everyone, and in knowing and in anticipating that this country is going to be a country of imgrants, you
immediately have to ask the question, how can you set up a census where new imgrants, many fleeing countries with oppressive central government regimes, would feel safe participating. so we have one of the proudest things i think i can say is we have a set of laws that protect the confidentiality of your answers to the nth degree, and that's a good thing for us. >> lehrer: thank you very much. good luck to be. >> great doob here, thank you. >> brown: again, the major developments of the day: president obama lifted the long-standing moratorium on drilling for oil off the southeastern u.s., the eastern gulf and north of alaska. flooding drove hundreds of people from their homes in the northeast and new england. rhode island was hardest hit with sewage plants and power stations underwater. and a chechen rebel leader claimed his group carried out monday's subway bombings in moscow. the "newshour" is always online. hari sreenivasan, in our newsroom, previews what's there. hari? >> sreenivasan: there's more on the debate over offshore oil drilling. we've rounded up reactions from environmental groups, lawmakers and others-- find that on "the rundown." our peru series continues online where you'll find two web only stories-- a video report on how
microcredit loan programs are helping those with long term, drug resistant tuberlucosis find jobs, and a story about the toll cervical cancer has taken on women in peru and efforts to help combat the disease. plus on "art beat," photographer all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. >> brown: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm jeffrey brown. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. we'll see you on-line and again here tomorrow evening with an interview with national security advisor jim jones, among things. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: every business day, bank of america lends nearly $3 billion to individuals, institutions, schools, organizations and businesses in every corner of the economy. america-- growing stronger everyday.
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